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Using Social Media To Attract, Engage and Retain Gen Z

Written by
Published on
September 11, 2023
Last updated
January 18, 2024

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The world of social media is ever-evolving. For Gen Z, it’s not just their number one form of communication – it’s where they go to build communities, keep up-to-date with trends and contribute to meaningful conversations.

As brands and youth marketers, it’s vital that you keep up with the social media landscape to convert browsers into shoppers.

But how can you build out these communities, make the most of your social media networks, develop smart marketing strategies, and create content that really stands out from the crowd? Well, great news: we, and our team of industry experts at our Youth Marketing Strategy (YMS) LDN, are here to help.

In this blog, we’ll reveal three top tips to attract, engage and retain Gen Z shoppers, drawing from exclusive insights cherry-picked from YMS London.

1. Polished content doesn't resonate with Gen Z

Gen Z is allergic to inauthenticity. They can spot disingenuity from a mile away. So, when you’re crafting your social media content, keep it real – and don’t be afraid to take risks. Young consumers don’t want to see overly polished content. They come online to have fun; often to escape from the doom and gloom that is reality!

As shared by Matt Horne, Head of Digital Media at Newcastle University

“Social moves fast, without taking risks you’re never going to learn new tactics”.

2. Get educational: Gen Z are a curious bunch

Contrary to popular opinion, these digital natives are inquisitive and always on the look-out to widen their knowledge gaps. So, why not use your social presence as a platform for education?

Sharing bite-sized, informative content is a great way to build brand affinity in your sector. Young consumers appreciate all things digestible, so try to not make it too wordy or over-the-top.

https://www.tiktok.com/@glossier/video/7233888185959550254?embed_source=121355059%2C121351166%2C121331973%2C120811592%2C120810756%3Bnull%3Bembed_name&refer=embed&referer_url=partner.studentbeans.com%2Fblog%2Fmarketing-to-students%2Fusing-social-media-to-attract-engage-and-retain-gen-z%2F&referer_video_id=6911455411522604294

Brands can also showcase their thought-leadership credentials by hosting live Q&A sessions. TikTok Live is a great way to do this.

As noted by Alice Worley during her session at YMS London, “young consumers gravitate towards immersive experiences”. Going live on TikTok to talk about your product and answer questions is a great way to build a relationship between the consumer and the brand. Our research also shows that trust increases in video-formatted spaces, with 30% of Gen Z trusting TikTok creators more than creators on other platforms. A no brainer, it seems!

3. Collaborate with the creators that Gen Z are loving

Creators can give brands that boosted sprinkle of magic dust when their strategy is running a little dry. Young consumers don’t want a hard sell, they want to feel as though they’ve been slowly guided into making the purchasing choice. And who do they trust? Creators, of course. 

Creators build their success through trust. Often speaking to the camera as though they were on FaceTime to an old friend, creators make it feel as though they’re going out of their way to recommend a good product. Doing you a favour, if you will…

Alix Earle’s infamous “Get Ready With Me” videos caused a whole cultural shift in the way young consumers followed their make-up routines – and sold out a bunch of products at the same time, too.

https://www.tiktok.com/@alixearle/video/7275883150369164587?q=alix%20earle%20grwm&t=1694453158421

The influencer recently unveiled a collaboration with beauty brand Benefit. This partnership is as authentic as they come, with Earle’s early videos showing her frequently applying and using the products. Aptly titled “Alix Made Me Buy It”, the kit has all of her favourite products – and it’s been a hit already.

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A post shared by Benefit Cosmetics US (@benefitcosmetics)

Want more top tips on how to supercharge your Gen Z social media strategy? Subscribe to our weekly briefing!

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